In a rare win for freedom of expression, the Federal Communications Friday ruled a love scene from the canceled TV show “Angel” that showed a female character turning into a vampire and biting her partner’s neck did not overstep federal indecency rules.
It was one of two scenes from a November 2003 episode of “Angel” that were not “sufficiently graphic or explicit to render the program patently offensive” by contemporary standards, the FCC said in denying an indecency complaint from the Parents Television Council.
“Angel,” which was canceled by the WB last year after five seasons, starred David Boreanaz in the title role of an 18th-century vampire who tried to atone for past evil deeds in present day Los Angeles.
One scene involved Angel in an intimate moment with a female character in which Angel’s hips are seen “moving back and forth,” the Parents Television Council said in its complaint.
In the scene depicting the female vampire biting the neck of her partner, also a vampire, both characters had clothes on and “their breathing is heavy,” the complaint said.
The episode aired at 9 p.m. EST on Nov. 19, 2003. The indecency law bars nonsatellite radio and noncable television stations from airing between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. indecent material such as references to sexual and excretory functions. Those are the hours when children are more likely to be watching TV.
But not all sexual and excretory references or scenes are considered indecent. The FCC must consider context and its decisions are subjective interpretations of the law.
The FCC said the “Angel” scenes were not patently offensive “as defined by commission precedent” and therefore were not indecent.
The complaint was officially filed against WBDC-TV in Washington, though the program aired on WB stations across the country. The FCC asks that indecency complaints include the call letters of a television or radio station.
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